Man sentenced to prison for role in western Missouri meth ring operating in KC

A Cameron, Missouri, man was sentenced Monday to 18 years in federal prison for assisting in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in western parts of the state, including Kansas City.

Benjamin W. Clark, 27, pleaded guilty earlier this year to participating in a drug-trafficking conspiracy. He admitted he aided at least two people in a conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of the drug in early 2017, according to court documents.

Clark and one co-conspirator, Jalie J. Brinlee, 29, of Cameron, bought the drug from suppliers and distributed it to customers in Cameron, Kansas City and elsewhere, federal prosecutors said.

Another co-conspirator, Robert J. Keegan, 37, of Harrisonville, was found with a Hi-point .40-caliber handgun and a duffel bag containing 3.8 kilograms of meth when was stopped by law enforcement in May 2017, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Missouri.

Keegan and Brinlee are already serving 18 years in federal prison.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Jackson County Drug Task Force and police in Belton and Independence. Investigators interviewed witnesses and confidential informants as part of the investigation.

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Luke Nozicka covers local crime and federal courts for The Kansas City Star. Before joining The Star, he covered breaking news and courts for The Des Moines Register.